An illustration of NASA's Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe, a mission to study the interaction of the solar wind with the winds of other stars. It will start in 2024.
NASA will launch a new mission in 2024 to help scientists better understand the bubble that surrounds the solar system.
This huge bubble, known as the heliosphere, is created by the sun; It consists of charged solar particles and solar magnetic fields. The heliosphere protects the earth and other solar system bodies from space radiation, blocking high-energy cosmic rays that have their origin in interstellar space.
But the heliosphere boundary is far from impenetrable. The new NASA mission called the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) will collect and investigate rapidly moving particles that can overcome them. [Solar Quiz: How Well Do You Know Our Sun?]
"This limit is where our sun protects us a lot, and IMAP is critical to broadening our understanding of how this 'cosmic filter' works," says Dennis Andrucyk, deputy director of NASA Missions Administration Washington, said in a statement Friday (June 1
). "The implications of this research could go far beyond considering earthly effects if we want to send people into space."